Eudaimonia

happy1.jpg A key to happiness and design success

Oprah’s been hanging out with best-selling author and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle, and their focus is happiness.  Tolle’s latest work, A New Earth, provides practical teachings for waking up to a new, enlightened mind-set.  So, what does this new-agey stuff have to do with learning, design, and leadership?  Enter eudaimonia. Research shows that genuinely happy people have something called “eudaimonia” in common:

Finding your (design’s) “most golden self.”

A combination of the Greek eu (“good”) and daimon (“spirit”), eudaimonia means striving toward excellence based on one’s unique talents and potential—Aristotle considered it to be the noblest goal in life.

In Aristotle’s time, the Greeks believed that each child was blessed at birth with a personal daimon embodying the highest possible expression of his or her nature. One way they envisioned the daimon was as a golden figurine that would be revealed by cracking away an outer layer of cheap pottery (the person’s base exterior). The effort to know and realize one’s most golden self—”personal growth,” in today’s lingo—is now the central concept of eudaimonia, which has also come to include continually taking on new challenges and fulfilling one’s sense of purpose in life.

I submit that, like life design, training design should pursue eudamonia. Let’s crack away the outer layer of extra words and elements that mask the true message we are trying to deliver. Whether that means using more white space in our layout or trimming content to only the most salient points, the search for eudaimonia is a mantra I’m willing to repeat. 

Tell us how you have experienced eudaimonia…